Abdominal Paracentesis Care

Learn what care is required for the Abdominal Paracentesis procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Abdominal Paracentesis Details

Alternate Names for Abdominal Paracentesis:
Abdominal tap
Ascites fluid tap

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do some or all of the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests to make sure your blood clots normally
  • X-ray -a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
  • CT scan -a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • Ultrasound -a test that uses sound waves to examine parts of the body
  • MRI scan -a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside of the abdomen

If the procedure is scheduled (rather than done in an emergency):

  • Do not eat or drink for 12 hours before the procedure.
  • Empty your bladder just before the procedure.


You will receive local anesthesia. The area will become numb. You will stay awake during the procedure.

Description of the Procedure

This is usually done in the doctor's office. In some cases, your doctor may have you go to the hospital before or after this procedure. If you are already in the hospital for a different reason, this procedure will not extend your stay.

In most cases, you will lie on your back. In some instances, you may need to be in a different position. The area where the needle will be inserted is cleaned with a solution and draped with sterile cloths. An injection of a local anesthetic will be given to numb the area. The doctor will carefully insert the needle into the abdomen. The fluid will be removed using a syringe.

The amount of fluid removed depends on your condition. If it is being done to make a diagnosis, the doctor will remove a small amount of fluid. If the procedure is being done to make you feel better, more fluid may be removed.

How Long Will It Take?

About 10-15 minutes (depending on how much fluid needs to be removed)

How Much Will It Hurt?

There will be some stinging or burning while the anesthesia is injected. Once the area is numb, you will not feel pain.

Post-procedure Care At the Care Center

You will stay in the recovery room for a few hours. Your blood pressure and other vital signs will be monitored. If you have a lot of fluid leakage or are having trouble breathing, you may need to stay in the care center.

At Home
  • Rest the day after your procedure.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions .


Learn what Abdominal Paracentesis is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Abdominal Paracentesis
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Abdominal Paracentesis Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Abdominal Paracentesis Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Abdominal Paracentesis Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Abdominal Paracentesis
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO